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Ways of listening: To the world and people around us

Hi everyone,

 

Hope everyone is well and finding themselves in new and exciting ways for life. I wanted to talk and discuss about listening. Not just listening as a concept, but rather 'To you, what does active listening mean? And how is it different from other types of listening?"

 

We go through life hearing and being bombarded with messages. Whether they be about family, national news, advice etc.. Yet sometimes we miss more to what words are intended to address and convey to others and ourselves.Such as when a person may wants help and support, but doesnt say it in a way that is explicitly clear to the individual on the receiving end. Which can be harder for other people. 

For me, I am diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Part of my condition is that I have trouble understanding sometimes what people are trying to say to me sometimes. It has made me pretty upset in the past where I failed in finding the correct meaning behind people's sentences as to what they meant, such as whether they were really excited or annoyed at my presence as examples. This has caused myself distress and confusion for myself in my life personally. While I have trouble with this on occasion, it does not mean I am defective or incapable of changing those flaws. That belief I extents to others as well!

 

So the goal for this topic is to share about what it means to listen for another person. How is done for each person, what is needed to make it successful, what do you feel when you are listened, what are your own experiences with listening to others, especially when someone you care about seems to be in trouble? And what do you reckon would make listening better for everyone?

 

Looking forward to what you all have to share and say Smiley Happy

 

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Re: Ways of listening: To the world and people around us

Hi @Milkninja222 , 

 

Thanks so much for this post, it's a really thought provoking one. 

 

mad men flirt GIF

 

I think you also have an incredibly valuable perspective on this as someone with Asperger's syndrome, thank you so much for sharing exactly how you find that impacts you and how it affects communication and listening for you. I've got a few friends who are really involved in neurodiverse communities, and I have learned so much from them, and from people who share their lived experience. 

 

I thought what you said here was so insightful and really opened my eyes to challenges that can exist in communication, both online and offline: 

 

" Part of my condition is that I have trouble understanding sometimes what people are trying to say to me sometimes. It has made me pretty upset in the past where I failed in finding the correct meaning behind people's sentences as to what they meant, such as whether they were really excited or annoyed at my presence as examples. This has caused myself distress and confusion for myself in my life personally. While I have trouble with this on occasion, it does not mean I am defective or incapable of changing those flaws. That belief I extents to others as well!

 

For me, I sometimes find that tone can get really easily misinterpreted online. Things like sarcasm don't always come across well, and I find it can be really easy to take offence at something, or feel like I've offended someone when I haven't, in online communication. I think emojis can help a bit with that, but I definitely see it all the time in various online groups, especially FB. Some members of groups online use "Au" after their profile name because they want other people to know that they are autistic - this is something I've only seen fairly recently, and I think that's an interesting approach. For them, it's a way of saying to people "hey, I may sometimes need things explained in a slightly different way, or need you to be really clear about what you mean". 

 

I am curious about how you find online communcation as opposed to in-person communication, is it easier, harder, or the same? 

 

I hope that's OK for me to ask! 

 

Thanks so much for starting this conversation- I'm just going to tag in a few other people who may be interested too, I hope you don't mind Smiley Happy 

 

@Tiny_leaf , @Hozzles , @Bananatime04 , @Bee , @Tay100 

 

 

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Re: Ways of listening: To the world and people around us

@Milkninja222 autism buddies! (sorry, I just like running into other autistic people online. Please excuse my enthusiasm..)

 

One thing that (unsurprisingly) affects my listening is the fact that my auditory processing is a bit... dodgy. 

I often end up putting so much energy into understanding what's being said that I don't notice the meaning behind it.

I tend to "listen" best over text or in situations where subtitles are possible. It just reduces the amount of effort I have to put in.

 

I tend to be slightly better than average at picking up on tone/ emotion over writing and through punctuation for some reason though, idk why.

It always confuses me when people say that there's no tone in texting.

 

I think that my autism affects my communication because I'm trying to move through a world where everyone else's brain works so differently to my own, but I think that mostly just makes it hard for me to predict how people are going to react..

 

Sorry if that went a little off-topic, my brain has decided it's going to wander a bit today..

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Re: Ways of listening: To the world and people around us

That's super interesting @Tiny_leaf , and being able to interpret tone through text is such a valuable skill to have, I've noticed you're especially good at that on the forums actually Smiley Happy 

 

One thing I've really had to work on is making sure I don't accidentally interrupt or speak over people when they're talking - I come from a family who are all big talkers, and when we get passionate or excited about something we can all end up talking over the top of each other. 

 

It's a  really awful habit though, and one I'm trying really hard to be mindful of - I know it can make people feel like they're not being listened to, or that I don't care about what they are saying, and I would hate to make people feel like that. 

@Tiny_leaf I love your enthusiasm!! Cat Very Happy

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Re: Ways of listening: To the world and people around us

Heyo @Milkninja222 Smiley Happy

I really appreciate this post since it shows people that something a lot of people take for granted (listening and understanding) can be vastly different experiences to people, and its good to know that and be patient with others.

For me listening is something that is a lot harder than most people expect. Whether it be good news, bad news, someone asking for help, encouragement, or just discussing, knowing how to listen changes depending on the situation. A few things I like to do is to read between the lines and not just listen to their words, but their tone, speed of speech, pauses, and little things that might give me more information on what they are trying to tell me.

Another thing thats key like I mentioned before, is to be patient. It is so important to just be patient with the person talking (and also the person listening) and take time to ask questions, understand, elaborate, and explain.

Lastly a trap I see a few people get into which is to do more with replying, is the issue of unintentionally making it about themselves. This can be problematic for a range of reason since they're likely coming for you for help and support, and you should focus on them and their needs. With my and my partner we struggle sometimes to remember we are not trying to argue, but our tone and the way we speak comes off as really aggressive or defensive which I think stems from not really listening and considering what the other person is saying. Its important to put yourself in their shoes and not jump into conclusions and instead ask questions and try to understand so you can discuss calmly.

I hope my experiences have shed some light on even little things and was somewhat helpful.
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Re: Ways of listening: To the world and people around us

Love the answers shared guys. Also, I don’t want to turn this into a post just about autism and listening, but more about how everyone thinks about listening and understanding in relationships with any kind of person in your lives😊

@Tiny_leaf 

It’s awesome to know that there is another with the same condition I have in these forums. Makes it more better 😊. Yeah, putting that mental effort into understanding the words but not the meaning is a very exhausting hurdle to get past. When you are giving your fullest attention to that, it really does not leave much if any room to find the correct meaning behind people’s point of view.

I noticed in your point that you find it easier to understand when you are with a person in real-life and not on an online platform. That I can empathise with as well.

Have you ever thought about as to why you prefer those dynamics?

And I don’t think you are going off-topic, rather I think you are just giving your own perspective on this. Which I find makes this topic more open and shares more uniqueness from another Smiley Very Happy

@Janine-RO 

This has been a really important topic and interest in my life for so many years. It can be isolating at times because you are trying so hard to understanding what people are trying to say and also trying to build connections with them. But I also know that is not just me who falls under that trap, its many others in the world as well, including neurotypicals. As there is an old saying ‘Say what you mean, mean what you say’

How do I find online communication as opposed to in-person communication? It always depends on who I am communicating with. Whether it is a best-friend, family member, colleague or a friend. As each person will explain, discuss, and evaluate and argue with me in different ways, that adjusting how I can interpret and figure out what they are meaning to express.

For myself personally, I prefer face-to-face communication, as there is more I can notice and take in, in terms of tonality in voice, pacing, body language, key points that their words mean as examples. But I have improved in communication from a younger age, where I have been able to build better understanding from what people have been trying to say to me, I believe.

For my online communication with others, it is like an easier avenue to communication, but have felt it can’t give me as much to go on. Like when someone is trying to discuss a point with me, I need to see their facial expressions to figure out what is their motivations or passions behind their words, and what they really think.

Can you explain more about your experiences on this subject?

@Anzelmo 

Love reading your perspectives on this. That you have acknowledge that listening does not come in specific form to building understanding and connection in others, especially when sharing your relationship with your gf. I also felt like there was a sense of validation you were giving when explaining the different elements involved in listening, whether it can hurt or increase connection through empathy, which is very important in any positive relationship. I don’t know if anyone else has come to that perspective I felt.